I have for some time already been twiddling with this issue, and now one article gave me the inspiration to finish this. Here is english version for my foreign friends 🙂
What is social dance? What does it include? What is not allowed?
In my eyes social dance is your free time, just having fun. Social dance happens with multiple partners, meeting new (or old friends) and dancing with them. Dancing, with played music, enjoying the moment of music, with the current partner, with those steps or patterns which you both feel comfortable. For me there isn’t any level checks or standards for social dance. Each dance is different, new and exciting. A good social dancer will be able to dance with almost every partner, you don’t have to know your partner.
Can I go in dance classes if I want to dance just a social dance. Of course! If you dance just socially, it doesn’t mean that you can’t practice technic to ease your own dance. How about people who have not attended courses, are they welcome to the dance? Definitely! Some people learn just by watching or trying. How we welcome new dancers in our community, tell a lot what kind of values we have.
As a beginner follower it is easy to go first time in party. If you dance with leader who knows what to do, you probably get ok dances. As an leader it is much harder to go first time in parties if you don’t have any ideas what to do, or how to move your own body. Dancing with experienced parter can help you little bit. Personally I think that you can go to party without any courses, but after a couple of hours of basic course, you usually feel more bolder and more confident. If you’ve been dancing for some time, you can say to panicking beginner, ”Hey, don’t worry, maybe now you are not good as those great ones, you will learn. You are welcome as the way you are! Everybody has started once, take a breath and enjoy!”
In social dance, what should you think? Your partner, it’s that person whose hand you hold when you dance. If we dance with the new person start moving peacefully, so you can feel what kind of dancer he/she is. Skillful dancer takes care of less experienced. Do not embarrass, advice or criticize your partner. The basic idea for myself is that I will try to dance as well I can with every partner, regardless of his/her level, they all may not be amazing-high level dancers (yet) but one day they might be. I want them to dance with me still when they reach that top-level. If I treat my partner with respect and do my best that he feels comfortable in our dance, he likely will transfer that feeling to the next dance also. Good things in life always come back. Everyone is responsible for trying to create the best possible dance together. Neither of us has come here to teach, or just sit and wait other person to entertain you, both will try to make our best, inside their own skill level. And if it still goes ”wrong”? Who cares, smile, that is what I do. There will another time, another dance. No one is perfect, and if they would be, life would be boring and predictable. Sometimes the dance chemistries match perfectly, sometimes not, it is life, there will be new songs and dances. Appreciate your partner, just as they are!
In here I have to make comment. If you notice there is dance teacher in parties. Please remember that they are people too. Dances/parties is their free time, they are there to have fun, just like you. They probably love dancing with all people, but they need water and rest just like all of us. When you ask them to dance for fourth time this evening, think would it be fair to let someone else to also dance with them? If they ask you, don’t think just enjoy 🙂 Ask polite, respect them as a person and you probably have amazing dances.
Sometimes when we talk about social dances arise issue, ”the compete dancers”, who come to show off and perform in dances or party… I understand this ”compete dancers’ dancers who compete, ballroom, latin, wcs, lindy. I don’t care what.
Competing is a great thing, as long as people remember separate competing in social context.
Everyone must take care of other dancers, intentionally crashing and shoving should not allow never, under any circumstances. Accidents happen, and when it happens, apologize, no matter whose fault. It’s not a big thing, the same manners apply in dance floor as for normal life. However, if you find yourself constantly apologizing, I recommend to little observe your own dance, maybe you move little bit to far. A skilled dancer can observe more, the less experienced sometimes struggles acknowledge of own movement and space. If there is room you can move bigger, if not then you should keep movement smaller, use the normal sense. As an leader, make sure that patterns you use are social patterns, that they fit in space and you can lead them so she can follow. A skilled dancer will be able to vary their dance more than a beginner, then responsibility not to crash on other people increases.
When we start to value people based on their competitions results (or dancing level imagine/or real ones), we are going wrong way and fast. Especially when it comes to social dance, when we start to choose our dance partners based on their competition results or competition levels. When the dancer can’t or don’t bother anymore to dance with novice dancers, because they are not good enough, we have lost something essential about dancing. The results of the competitions will tell you your dancing level today, with these judges, against these competitors, nothing more. Results of the competition will not tell you how you’ve developed. It does not tell how good social dancer you are. It does not define you as an dancer! Each of us should remember that there is always someone who is better. Someone who will train even harder, someone who is more talented, someone who has just better luck, someone who just kicks your ass in comps.
And about presentation… Dance has always be presentation, in the beginning of time different sexes have danced to each others, seeking partner and attention. Why or how that would be changed? I like to participate in dance, dance to my partner. I guess this is a thing why we call it couple dance,right ?? Otherwise, we just boogie all alone at home. If the couple is dancing together, have fun, fooling around, enjoys them selfs. Why would you mind if they ”show of” to each others? You shouldn’t. If dance looks great to outside also, that is just a bonus. If someone feels offended, others dance, maybe you should look at in the mirror and think, ”Why did I react like this?”. If couple is doing inappropriate things, that is just a another thing.
Sometimes occurring is only dancing skills of better dancer, and we think it is a show Why, is this jealousy? Jealousy, if someone can do more? Why, should they hide their skills so some people don’t feel bad? How boring or scary it would be if there would be only one, right way to dance?
I like the kitchen examples 🙂 If I can cook potatoes in 17 different ways, I shouldn’t prepare those because most people know how to cook those only 5 different way? Why? I have put many hours of practicing and getting to know technic. Why shouldn’t I use them? Exactly!
If I want to teach social dancing, I have to actually know what it is. How could I teach things that I actually not be able to implement my self? What does social dance then mean to me? It’s how people feels when they dance with me, or how I feel when I dance with them. If an beginner dancer comes To ask me to dance, and give me a big smile after dance, I’m happy. Partner whose hands are shaking, and I get him to relax, give me the winner feeling. The feeling when you notice that together you have created something great, for both of us. The flow feeling when you are dancing with partner who is much higher level than my-self. If someday I lost beauty of social dance, I might as well quit the dancing. Everyone has bad days, before going to dance, think is it a wise decision to go if you are not in right mood. There no excuses if you make someone feel bad.
Winner of social dance is person who can dance with all level dancers. Person who can enjoy all dances. Person who can accept partners just the way they are, and can create something amazing together. Usually these people are most wanted persons in party. I’m as great dancer, as good I can make my partner feel!